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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: April ::
Re: Folio-Based Editions, Footnotes,
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0296.  Friday, 1 April 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Mary Jane Miller <
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        Date:   Thursday, 31 Mar 94 12:43:19 -0500
        Subj:   Re: the hazards of footnotes
 
(2)     From:   Michael Caulfield <
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        Date:   Friday, 01 Apr 1994 02:16:33 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Folio Texts
 
(3)     From:   Steven Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        Date:   Friday, 01 Apr 94 08:40:49 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0294  Folio-Based Editions
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Jane Miller <
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Date:           Thursday, 31 Mar 94 12:43:19 -0500
Subject:        Re: the hazards of footnotes
 
Re: Michael Young's question -- I wonder if anyone else does what I do about
edited texts and footnotes. I tell students to read the play straight
through, preferably at one or two sittings, first and then to reread with
the footnotes. I began to advise this practice when a colleague in biology
volunteered to do a paper on The Tempest for a 'great books/liberal
studies' dress rehearsal which  involved faculty only. He got completely
bogged down in the footnotes, good scholar that he was and was bored by
the play. I suggested a straight read-through for basic plot and flow,
the closest one can get in the study to seeing the play. That untangled it
for him and revived his interest. My students, - those who do read the play
more than once [final exams are upon us so pardon the seasonal cynicism]
-also seem to find that advice helpful. Of course, they do get lectures on
Q and F, variants and the traps of look alike words whose meanings have
changed etc. as a raison d'etre for not using Aunt Millie's old
unannotated Globe text.
 
Happy Easter all. Up here classes resume Easter Mon but conclude in 10 days.
 
Mary Jane Miller,
Brock University,

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Caulfield <
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Date:           Friday, 01 Apr 1994 02:16:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Folio Texts
 
Concerning Kurt Daw's comment that the lack of punctuation in unmodernized
texts provides better reading cues to actors: if my memory serves me right,
Roman Jakobson makes a similar point (regarding the sonnets) in his analysis of
"Th'expence of spirit". The essay can be found in his *Language & Literature*
volume. Especially where complex wordplay is prevalent in a text, the unnoted
insertion of punctuation can be quite destructive.
 
Michael Caulfield
Merrimack, NH
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steven Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date:           Friday, 01 Apr 94 08:40:49 EST
Subject: 5.0294  Folio-Based Editions
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0294  Folio-Based Editions
 
Using early editions?  An anecdote about early editions -- quarto and Folio
texts -- in classrooms:  About six years ago I gave a workshop as part of
series for New Jersey teachers interested in Shakespeare.  The opening
session, a week earlier, offered me a chance to distribute xeroxes of the 1597
and 1599 quartos.  These were straight from facsimiles, though a few pages
illegible in facsimile were followed by copies of equivalents taken from a 19th
century diplomatic reprint.  I asked the participants to look at the
alternatives, concentrating on passages that they usually spent time on with
students.  At the next session one brave soul reported that she had made copies
of copies and worked with them with her FOURTH GRADE class in the pine forests
of central Jersey.  They acted out the different texts of specific scenes.
When she then turned to go into other activities, she handed out the standard
issues modern type-face school texts.  The class rebelled, she reported,
saying, "We want the REAL plays."
 
Just an anecdote.  And scurrillously scampering away from the ontological
"reality claims" of those imperfect witnesses from the olden days.  But, hey,
plays themselves smack of make-believe that we willingly choose to believe
while we know we are making that belief.  That's different from Authority,
Editorial Style.
 
To lay hands on copies of the earliest texts and to give them to your classes,
perhaps you can xerox from an out-of-copyright 19th century facsimile. At 5 to
10 cents per two-page opening, you can have a Q1 HAMLET for $2-$4 if your
school won't run them up for free.
 
And for years I've been handing out small parallel text chunks of plays, a
scene, a ten line passage of alternative actions, etc.  If anyone would like to
get "purple alternative passages" from LEAR, HAMLET, ROMEO AND JULIET, HENRY VI
parts 2 and 3, and MERRY WIVES, I'll be glad to send them out.
 
                               As ever,
                                 Steve Urkowitz
                                 Department of English
                                 City College of New York
                                 New York, NY 10031
                                                   SURCC@CUNYVM
 

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